The first day of school, teachers will have lots of excited students who, for the most part, are tired of summer and anxious to see their school friends again. So, with such an enthusiastic crowd, what can teachers do to capitalize on this energy so that they can begin to know their students as people.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Give students a multiple intelligences assessment. Though assessment here is for middle school, it can be used from upper elementary through high school (just white out the grade level). Once student complete the assessment, have the follow the scoring routine. Students are always shocked by this new knowledge about their talents. Then, calm the class down and start taking totals for each group. With this data, the class will generate a graph with labels and numbers. Once that is complete and some discussion has ensued, have them write a paragraph on how this information could be used by a teacher in creating projects for students.
2. Since the students don't know each other, have them interview each other and then report out to the class on what they learned about their new classmate. Students should take notes on the answers their partners provide to use when they share with the class what they learned about their new classmate.
3. Students love social media (especially Facebook) so why not try having them create Facebook pages on themselves? Of course, it would great if the teacher (with document camera) created one for her/himself to address questions along the way. Then have them work on their own either with a partner if it is new for them. Once everyone has finished, teachers can use document cameras to share a few of the student work with the class and then post all of them at the end. Parents will love it for Back-To-School night.
4. Here are 19 other icebreakers for the first day. There is something for every grade level and all are crowd pleasers. My favorite is FOOD FOR THOUGHT. Students introduce themselves by first name and then select a food that starts with the same letter of their first names. Example: Hello, my name is Marsha and I eat mangos. The next student gives his name and favorite food item and then must repeat what the other student said and so forth.
Have fun with students in the first few days. Get to know them and them you.
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